Permission to be a Luddite
Talk to any published writer today and the topic of conversation eventually turns to online promotion. In the age of social media, some novelists I know spent up to three hours a day online—updating their websites, blogging, connecting with friends and fans on Facebook and with colleagues on LinkedIn. They tweet, post pictures on Instagram, and create bulletin boards on Pinterest. They create book trailers and YouTube channels. And then of course there’s Goodreads and those awful, horrible, no good, very bad reviews many of us can’t stay away from. A writer could literally spend so much time on social media that there’s no time left over to write.
I update my website a few times a year, answer all the e-mails I receive from kids and teachers, and I blog here once a month. And that’s pretty much it. I’ve signed up for most social media sites at one time or another, but after a few days I generally come to the conclusion that they’re just a big time suck. Facebook has been a great vehicle for getting in touch with childhood friends, but if you friend me you’ll discover that I almost never post. And when I’m deep into a project or have a deadline looming, I take months off Facebook at a time.
It’s not that I don’t want to do everything I can to make sure my books stay in print and on the shelves, but as far as I can tell, none of those things are proven to sell books—not middle grade books, anyway.
In those discussions with other writers—the ones who tweet and link and pin things—I often feel a twinge of, “Oh no, I should be doing that, too. I’m not doing my job as a writer.” And then I remind myself that I am doing my job—I’m writing. So I’ve given myself permission to be a social media Luddite, and it’s working for me. I just celebrated my tenth anniversary as a full-time writer.
So, I’m writing this blog this morning and then I’m getting back to work. Right after I dash over to Facebook and post a link….;-).